The first run of the day is always a game, usually Full House or Jackpot. Ideally it's a game that is good for a dog that gets a little crazy to start out with, lots of energy and may not be as controlled. In most cases, the dog will take something as it's running amok and at least earn some points. Saturday's star attraction was Jackpot. I must say that out of all the games, this one is proving to be a challenge for us on time. This is the second trial in a row that we had enough points but couldn't finish in time - and there is no point deduction for over time with an allowance to still qualify. You must make it in time. Here is the course map:
I should mention, too, that we need two more Jackpot legs to finish our Level 3 title, so pretty frustrating that the silly thing is so elusive! But, I can say Vegas did not let me down on this. She did all she could do and all I asked her to do and it just wasn't ours for the taking. In fact, I can say that about the entire weekend. She did not get loopy once. She did everything I asked her to do and did so with energy and enthusiasm and her usual spunk.
In trying to make sure we had enough points on this one, I worked in her taking the a-frame twice as well as the five-point combo jumps twice. This was a non-traditional jackpot which meant we had two jackpot choices and we could actually do both for points, plus you could do the jackpot at any point in time - you didn't have to wait for the buzzer. I know my mistake was in waiting to take the jackpot until when we did because then when every second counted, Vegas balked a bit at the tunnel. It can be a tough one from a distance without exactly the right angle of approach and some speed behind it. Oh well. better luck next time and we'll get that Q.
Next up was two rounds of Standard. Here are the courses:
Both had their little traps. The first course had slightly off angles in the first long stretch there but that was all fine. Six through nine were fine and with jump #10 you just had to make sure to call and turn so #18 wasn't appealing. Twelve to 13 could have been a hitch with the jump ahead and the tunnel being a left turn, but Vegas handled it fine. She did knock the #17 bar though which I was baffled by and uncertain of whether it would be an automatic NQ. Vegas long ago would knock bars quite often. Then I worked her on higher jumps and she has since, with experience, time, and precision stopped doing that. In fact, it's an extremely rare thing for her to knock a bar. My friend thought that someone was resetting another jump behind her during our run so you can bet I was getting fumed at that. CPE is a venue where no bars are reset during your run so that kind of disruption should not occur. When I reviewed the video several times, I was not able to see that was the case. I looked up the rules and learned we could knock a bar and still qualify, but I still didn't have an answer as to why it happened; I just assumed I must have queued her in some way that her body shifted. Fortunately my friend, Jami, has a keen eye for this type of thing. She watched the video Saturday evening and said that Vegas dropped a shoulder slightly and that, in turn, caused her to drop her foot and knock the bar.
Oftentimes in CPE the second round of Standard is almost opposite of the first round. They will switch the teeter and maybe shift some jumps around but mostly renumber the course. That was not the case so much this weekend. The course was quite a bit different for round two. I will note, if you count how many times the tunnels on course are used for these two runs, it was already getting a bit excessive for the big dogs. Seven tunnels between two runs. In this course, we were doing fine up until the 12-13 transition. The course map makes it look like it wouldn't be possible to take the #12 tunnel then head for the a-frame and miss #13. In fact, the jump was a bit more offset to the left than it appears and I almost forgot to queue Vegas to go over it. It was an awkward moment but we got through it. #17 looks like it could have been tricky for us as an obstacle discrimination point. Most people, if they had trouble with their dog in this setup, would struggle keeping their dog out of the tunnel. For me, I struggle to send Vegas into a tunnel when she's presented with a contact obstacle. She is smart enough to know the lesser of two evils. However, in this case the tunnel was set forward and offset enough that I could push out and get Vegas right into the tunnel. Such a great girl; she qualified in both of those runs earning a couple more legs toward our Level 4 standard requirements.
After our Standard runs we had Wildcard then Colors. We needed one more Colors leg to finish the Handler title for Level 3; Wildcard was in Level 4. The nice thing about both of these courses is that they are usually quite a bit shorter than your typical Standard course. After those tunnels I know Vegas deserved it. It turns out the judge accidentally made a mistake on her Wildcard course, too, and since it was already approved by CPE and the maps printed, the course built, etc, there was nothing she could do about it. In Wildcard, you choose an A or B obstacle at three different points. At our level it meant we needed two Bs and one A. Usually the Bs should be the more difficult of the two obstacles. Her mistake was to have two tunnel options back to back in such a fashion that it made the choice relatively easy for most of the competitors at this level. Of course for us, it didn't matter. I wouldn't choose tunnels unnecessarily for Vegas if I had other feasible options.
For Vegas' sake on this course, I choose the following 2b, 6a, and 7b. It meant the course took us slightly longer as weaving is not as quick as a tunnel. However, it meant a better run for Vegas' well-being and that's what matters. You'll notice our little fumble in the series of three jumps following the teeter. That was completely my fault. I should have moved ahead between the first and second jump to better queue her through the rest and didn't so I wasn't in a good spot to help her understand what I wanted.
Colors is another run where I try to figure out if I can make choices to reduce the number of tunnels Vegas has to take. Most cases, unfortunately, there are the same number in both. So, in this instance, I chose the course that gave us the best approaches so her entry wasn't slow and more difficult. She ran the squares course. She qualified and finished that part of our Level 3 title. What a girl!
So ending our day we were 4/5. We stuck around and videoed and watched our friends finish their runs. When I went home and got the dogs fed, I barely heard a peep out of them the rest of the night. They crashed hard, only getting up to potty and go to bed again. Here's Vegas before we left the fairgrounds, though.
Sunday we ran small to tall. I worked quite a bit and Vegas spent quite a bit of time in her kennel relaxing. She did better than she had on Saturday, in fact, as long as I wasn't standing where she could see me or hear me. The order of our runs Sunday was Full House, Standard Round 1, Standard Round 2, Snooker, and Jumpers. Since we were running in two rings, things got a little interesting. The Standard ring was to take precedence whereas the day prior the games ring was to have taken precedence. Of course when our turn finally got close, it was close in both rings! So, Vegas and I got on the line for Full House, ran our run, came out and had less than two minutes before we ran standard. Yikes! But fun at the same time. I had enough time to make sure Vegas knew I was proud of her for our Full House run and off we went again. That doesn't happen often but when it does it's nice to know that I don't freak out over it anymore.
My original plan on this run was to take the tire to the jump to the first tunnel toward the lower right, then head for the a-frame, loop out to a jump, and take the a-frame again, then hit a jump, go to the double, and head on over to the table. Of course the best laid plans.... I got a little off in what I had planned and it sort of just worked out to push through the tunnels even though I usually try not to. The flow worked well and Vegas did great.
Vegas ran this course well and qualified for our third standard level 4 leg of the weekend. The course flowed very nicely, didn't have any huge traps but made sure we were on our toes as handlers to avoid moments of letting our dog take what might be the next obstacle but wasn't the one on the map.
Please note, too, Vegas completed this course in a mere 47.45 seconds. Whoohoo!
This course we had more trouble on. I'm not sure why exactly. The only area I knew would be a struggle is #13 because Vegas would prefer the dog walk and at that close proximity I just couldn't count on being able to push her to the tunnel. All in all for the weekend, she nailed weaves like a rockstar. However, for some reason on this course she popped her weaves at pole 10 and we had to start over. So, no Q, but a nice run otherwise. Just some bobbles and a reminder to work on obstacle discrimination with a contact and a tunnel. Of course there is balance there, too. I don't want to over-practice tunnels as that can be hard on my big girl's body.
Next up was Snooker. This course was really awesome! It was kind of funny - all of us essentially chose the same exact course to run and were going for three 7-point obstacles, a very rare thing to make it doable for so many. But three 7-point obstacles is what we did for our first level 4 Snooker leg! Go Vegas!
Our last run of the day was Jumpers. By then it was heating up a bit more than they'd said it was going to be and I know Vegas was starting to feel it a bit. Of course she loves agility and pleasing her mom so she didn't act it on the course. I was just hoping the course wasn't tunnel heavy like CPE seems to be leaning toward. She got lucky with just two tunnels and you can betcha I was telling her that. I gave her a good rub down and lots of good treats, plus she got loved on by the judge afterward. Judge Jackie even gave her a good portion of a cheese wheel to which Vegas was over-the-top pleased with.
This was a fun course, not one that allowed Vegas to fully stretch out between jumps, but one that was looping, flowing, and had the tunnels out of the way relatively early. Plus, the tunnel entrances were decent so Vegas had some momentum going in. Another qualifying run to finish the weekend 8/10 with a tired pair of pooches.
Here is my sweety girl posing for me before we packed up to head home.
There were some interesting moments in the weekend what with Bess running with us again. Check out Lindsay's blog for the funny video when she decided to come see me. :)
Our next trial is Labor Day weekend. We're running three days out of the four at Argus Ranch. This will be an AKC trial hosted by the Evergreen Golden Retriever Club. We've attended one of their trials before and they're very well oPublish Postrganized and put on by a great group of folks. I look forward to seeing some of our AKC friends again and getting back into the swing of things, hopefully to earn our AX title and more MACH points.